Irmak Karabük Zonguldak Railway Line

“The Railway Leading to Coal”
has been restored...

Year 1925. The calendar page is showing 13th December. The Republic of Turkey, which is trying to overcome the destructive effects of the war, takes an important step for reaching economic independence and transporting natural resources to the different regions of the country. The Grand National Assembly of Turkey approves the Law on the Ankara-Ereğli Railway Line under the name “The Railway Leading to Coal”.

This important railway line, which the young Republic of Turkey wished to establish to face the future and move forward, was going to run between the coal city Zonguldak and Irmak station, near the capital Ankara. The construction of the railway started on 7th February 1927 and the 102-kilometre line, running between Irmak and Çankırı, became operative on the 23rd of April 1931. The railway between Irmak-Filyos, which had a total length of 391 kilometres, went into operation on 14th November 1935 with a ceremony held in Filyos. It comprised 27 stations, 1368 culverts and bridges and 37 tunnels, and had a total length of 8800 kilometres.

“Construct one hand span more railway!” This was the motto of the Republic between the years 1923 and 1938. However, after this period, interest in constructing new railway lines and renewing them decreased over the years. About 70 years have passed since then. An important step was taken in 2013 towards renewing this line, which had become worn-out and dilapidated.

The Republic of Turkey, Ministry of Transportation, Maritime Affairs and Communication instigated the renewal of the line, thanks to financial assistance provided by the European Union under the Transport Operational Programme and the restoration was completed in 2016.

A Travel “breaking grounds” on iron rails

This line has been renewed with the highest level of financing provided by the European Union for a single item. During the construction work for this line there has been many examples of breaking ground:

Along the 415-kilometre line, special rails have been installed and all the junctions have been renewed. During those renewal works, train services have not been suspended. Freight shipment continued without any interruption.

A comprehensive environmental impact study was realised before the renewal works began and the ecosystem was taken into consideration. A map showing regional endemic plants and other regional environmental characteristics has been prepared for the line.

Urban through-roads located on the route have been made safer, as accidents had occurred on them from time to time.

A total of 19,000 individuals were employed during the line’s construction and the signalization and telecommunication system was designed in accordance with a speed limit of 120 kilometres per hour. A control office has been established in Karabük. Furthermore, nine tunnel entrances have been renewed.

Of course, the passengers have not been forgotten during the renewal works. The 33 passenger platforms and 25 stations situated on the line have been reconstructed, taking disabled access into consideration. Furthermore, a real-time electronic passenger information and announcement system is now being used on all the passenger platforms.

While the standards and security level of the line have been increased, travel time has reduced. The trains’ passenger cars have been renewed and the comfort level has been increased.

Project Information

Project Name: Rehabilitation and Signalization of Irmak-Karabük-Zonguldak Railway Line

Beneficiary Institution: General Directorate of Turkish State Railways

Contractor Company: Yapı Merkezi İnşaat Sanayi A.Ş., MÖN İnşaat ve Ticaret Ltd. Şti. Consortium

Date of the Contract: 14.12.2011

Starting Date of Work: 25.01.2012

Temporary Admission Date According to the Contract: Section 1: 15.12.2015- Section 2: 29.11.2016

Contractor Company: Tecnica y Proyectos, S.A. (TYPSA), Safege Consortium

Date of the Contract: 04.01.2012

Starting Date of Work: 10.01.2012

Completion Date of Work According to the Contract: 15.11.2017

Date of Completion: 2016

Financial Contribution of the EU: 194.469.209 Million Euros (85%)

Total Project Amount: 227.2 Million Euros


Operational Objective of the Line: Mass Passenger and Freight Transportation

Line Length: 415 Kilometres

Line Characteristics: Single Line

Number of Stations: 33 (+25 stations)

Operational Train Speed: Maximum 120 Kilometres / Hour

The railway is not just a railway!
During the first years of the Republic, railways were not just a mode of transport. They had an invigorating effect on the economy of the provinces they were passing through and they facilitated transport local production to different regions.
The introduction of the railways brought factories. They also had a positive impact on education, health, culture and sport; in brief, they had an effect on the entire social life of the provinces and districts through which they passed. They left behind a deep-rooted culture, as well as railroad men.



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